Cyprus updates

Arbitration & ADR

Application and interpretation of Article IV of New York Convention
  • Cyprus
  • 04 June 2020

In recent years there has been a substantial number of cases in which the courts have had to determine whether applicants seeking the recognition and enforcement of an arbitral award have complied with the requirements set out in Article IV of the New York Convention, which the Supreme Court has ruled must be strictly satisfied. The principles highlighted in this article should help to shed light on the courts' interpretation and application of Article IV.

District court examines scope of arbitration agreements and arbitrability of dispute
  • Cyprus
  • 27 February 2020

In a recent case before the Limassol District Court, the Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network applied for the recognition and enforcement of two arbitral awards which had been issued by the International Commercial Arbitration Court at the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The dispute concerned the breach of two film licensing agreements by the respondent, Trevano Pictures Limited.

Supreme Court confirms that inadequately justified arbitral award amounts to arbitrator misconduct
  • Cyprus
  • 12 December 2019

In a recent Supreme Court case, the appellant appealed against a first-instance judgment in which he had sought to annul an arbitral award. The dispute related to the non-payment of a loan granted by the respondent to the appellant and a subsequent challenge of the amount owed. Arbitration had taken place in which the arbitrator had issued his decision in favour of the respondent.

District court reaffirms narrow scope of public policy argument against recognition of arbitral awards
  • Cyprus
  • 05 September 2019

In a recent Limassol District Court case, the applicants applied for the recognition and enforcement of a London Court of International Arbitration award, which the respondents argued was contrary to Cypriot public policy pursuant to the New York Convention. This case serves as a useful reminder that the courts will rarely resort to public policy grounds to refuse the recognition of an arbitral award unless presented with cogent evidence.

Court clarifies application of Article VI of New York Convention
  • Cyprus
  • 30 May 2019

In a recent Limassol District Court case, the applicants applied for the recognition and enforcement of an arbitral award issued by the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. The case is one of the first examples of the judicial interpretation and application of Article VI of the New York Convention by the Cypriot courts and serves as a useful guide to the proper procedure to be followed by parties when invoking said article.


Corporate & Commercial

Contributed by Solsidus Law
Challenges when pursuing partial division of Cyprus company
  • Cyprus
  • 28 September 2020

A reorganisation by partial division has many benefits, especially in an economy where corporate reorganisations may be the sole means of survival for larger businesses and organisations. For this reason, it is important that professionals and businesspeople alike are aware of the existence of the procedure and the possible ways in which it may benefit their business.

Directors' duties in time of COVID-19
  • Cyprus
  • 06 April 2020

Directors run state hospitals, private clinics, companies and businesses that will be affected by the government's decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic and will be called on to decide the life or death of the businesses that they run. This article examines directors' duties in the face of a crisis from a corporate law perspective.

Importance of certainty in agreements: can there be room for an agreement to agree?
  • Cyprus
  • 20 May 2019

The Contracts Law provides the legal framework for establishing legally valid and enforceable agreements in Cyprus. However, in real-life commercial situations, parties may not always achieve the certainty required to ensure that an agreement or contract term is valid and enforceable. The pressure associated with reaching an agreement often causes parties to defer important contract terms in order to close a deal at the expense of certainty and, ultimately, enforceability.

New simplified strike-off procedure comes into force
  • Cyprus
  • 18 March 2019

The provisions on the striking off of Cypriot companies set out in the Companies Law were recently amended to introduce a simplified process to reinstate a company which is struck off as a result of failure to file mandatory documents or to pay the annual levy to the registrar. The simplified process aims to enable companies that are struck off due to irregularity to be reinstated within two years, without having to resort to the courts

Directors' duties when launching ICOs
  • Cyprus
  • 06 August 2018

When an initial coin offering (ICO) is structured through a Cypriot company, directors' duties are highly relevant. The directors must approve the framework within which the ICO will be launched. While doing so, directors are legally required to protect the company's interests in line with their fiduciary duties. When directors also invest their own funds in an ICO, under Cypriot law, they must still maintain a conflict-free position.


Corporate Finance/M&A

M&A opportunities in Cyprus post-Brexit
  • Cyprus
  • 27 February 2019

There has been a noticeable rise in foreign investments in Cyprus, with an upswing in mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. This has been the result of various reforms and legislative amendments that have added legal certainty and contributed to the creation of a coherent statutory framework. International investors might well consider these factors when assessing Cyprus as an investment hub for future transactions in the M&A market post-Brexit.

Mergers and reorganisations – an overview
  • Cyprus
  • 23 January 2019

Cyprus boasts an attractive merger and reorganisation regime not only locally (ie, between Cyprus entities), but also at an EU level. Besides the well-known advantages of merging two companies (eg, the transfer of assets and liabilities without the need for the novation of contracts or other cumbersome procedures), mergers and reorganisations in Cyprus are also attractive from a tax perspective, as those which fall within the scope of the law may result in a total tax exemption in Cyprus.


Corporate Tax

Contributed by Elias Neocleous & Co LLC
Protocol amending Cyprus-Russia double tax treaty ushers in new era
  • Cyprus
  • 16 October 2020

Cyprus and Russia recently signed a protocol amending the double tax treaty (DTT) between the two states. Businesses in Cyprus that will be subject to the protocol are advised to review their corporate structures and assess what impact, if any, the DTT changes will have on their overall effective tax exposure.

Cyprus and Switzerland agree updated double tax treaty
  • Cyprus
  • 14 August 2020

Cyprus recently agreed an updated double tax treaty (DTT) with Switzerland. The amendments made to the DTT focus on business profits, associated enterprises, mutual agreement procedures and benefit entitlement, and the amending protocol introduces the mandatory minimum standards of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's Base Erosion and Profit Shifting actions regarding arrangements on bilateral conventions and verbal amendments agreed bilaterally.

Tax Department's new electronic Tax Gateway service imminent
  • Cyprus
  • 17 July 2020

The Tax Department recently informed the Cyprus International Businesses Association that it expects its new electronic taxation service to be operational imminently. The Tax Gateway aims to provide a central point via which all citizens, businesses and their representatives can gain information about debts owed and payments made to the department.

Tax measures introduced due to COVID-19
  • Cyprus
  • 01 May 2020

The government has introduced a variety of tax measures intended to help taxpayers preserve their cash flows and ease the administrative burden on them during the COVID-19 health emergency. In this regard, the deadlines for payment of indirect taxes and those pertaining to tax returns have been extended.

New double tax agreement between Cyprus and Kazakhstan
  • Cyprus
  • 13 March 2020

The Cyprus-Kazakhstan double tax treaty recently entered into force. The agreement – which is the first of its kind between the two countries and closely based on the latest Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Model Tax Convention framework – is to be welcomed in view of the possibilities for business, transactional work and business synergies that it may help to create between the two countries.


Employment & Immigration

Expatriate relief of 20% for lower employment income earners to be extended
  • Cyprus
  • 30 September 2020

There are numerous advantages available to expatriates who take up employment in Cyprus. For each tax year, a 50% deduction is available to those who earn employment income of more than €100,000 annually or a 20% deduction for those earning below €100,000. Applications for the 20% deduction were meant to close at the end of 2020, but a draft bill suggesting its prolongation for an additional five years has been put before Parliament.

Benefits of Cyprus Investment Programme
  • Cyprus
  • 22 November 2019

The Cyprus Investment Programme is ranked among the top 10 programmes in the world for global citizenship. It was established to attract foreign direct investment and encourage high-net-worth individuals to settle and conduct business in Cyprus, thereby boosting the nation's economy. One of the programme's key features is its investment policy, under which non-EU citizens can obtain Cypriot citizenship by making specific investments. This article examines recent amendments to the programme.

Supreme Court declares legislation extending paternity leave and benefits to unmarried fathers unconstitutional
  • Cyprus
  • 06 March 2019

In late 2018 the House of Representatives introduced amendments which granted paternity leave and benefits to unmarried working fathers. However, the government referred the amending laws to the Supreme Court, claiming that they would add unbudgeted costs to its budget and therefore violate the Constitution. The Supreme Court recently accepted the government's position and declared the amendments unconstitutional.

Employment law amendments introduced for seagoing vessels and crew
  • Cyprus
  • 20 February 2019

Four employment laws concerning seagoing vessels and their crew were recently amended. Among other things, the amendments relate to transfers of seagoing vessels and their crew under a transfer of undertakings, the definition of a 'competent authority' for notifying collective redundancies and the role and protection of merchant vessel crew members who act as employee representatives.

Supreme Court clarifies burden of proof in wage protection cases
  • Cyprus
  • 28 November 2018

Cyprus case law has long established that reverse onus in criminal cases does not transfer the burden of proof to defendants; rather, it allows them to create reasonable doubt with respect to their guilt. A recent Supreme Court decision has confirmed this in regard to wage protection and clarified that all criminal courts (ie, not just employment tribunals) must examine the facts that establish employment relationships and interpret employment contracts where said facts are disputed.